Amid Restrictions, Restaurants With Outdoor Seating Are Now Turning To RVs
With the reinstated indoor dining restrictions, some restaurants with outdoor seating are taking creative measures to attract customers back to their establishments and keep their employees on the payroll.
Some restaurants are introducing the concept of dining in RVs, and customer response has been very positive. RV dining is a unique and fun way to enjoy eating out while maintaining social distancing parameters.
Chatter Box in Long Grove, Illinois
Chatter Box, an American-style bar and grill located in Long Grove, Illinois, has recently created a one-of-a-kind dining experience with their RV private dining set-up. Travel trailers, loaned from Sunny Island RV dealership in Rockford, Illinois, are arranged in the restaurant’s parking lot.
This new dining opportunity, dubbed Camp Find-A-Way, is the company’s attempt at encouraging customers to come and enjoy a nice sit-down meal safely, with social distancing and sanitation standards in place. Minimal contact is made with staff members. Customers utilize a walkie-talkie to make their order, and the meals and drinks are brought out to the RV.
According to a restaurant spokesman, each trailer is outfitted with HEPA filters and UV lights.
“Fresh air is brought in from the outside and heated,” a post on Chatter Box’s Facebook page read. “…Then air is pulled outside through the vent exhaust vent fan, which allows the air to be continuously circulated and turned over. We also clean and sanitize in between every seating and everyone entering must sanitize their hands first.”
Chatter Box has already started taking reservations, and the customers are scrambling for a slot.
Customers can opt to purchase any one of the units on-site as well. The restaurant gets the customer in touch with the dealership, and the staff member responsible for assisting the customer request receives a commission on the sale.
Bring your own RV for dining
On the flip side, residents in Monument, Colorado, are supporting local restaurants by bringing their RVs to the businesses. Ryan Pendleton, a resident of Monument, proposed the idea after indoor dining was closed once again. He has been spreading the word and inviting people to bring their RV downtown every Wednesday from 5-9 PM.
Folks can pull out their tables and chairs, hang out around a fire pit, and even deck out their rig with a string of lights. With their ambiance in place, they can then enjoy a meal prepared from a nearby restaurant.
Local restaurants are embracing this support with open arms.
“This is the toughest year that we’ve hands down ever experienced,” said Bobby Padilla, co-owner of Arlene’s Beans & Salsa in downtown Monument. “We’re just trying to keep our head above water. We know that we have to scratch and scrape for everything we have this year.”
RV dining will continue in Monument every Wednesday until dining rooms reopen. The following is a news report from KOAA News 5 of Southern Colorado about this event.
Look for more RV dining experiences
If you are traveling in your RV and need a place to stop for a bite to eat or even park/stay overnight, Cracker Barrels have parking specifically for RVs, and most allow for overnight parking. (Of course, it’s always a good idea to call the restaurant beforehand to see if they allow overnight stays.)
Regardless if you stay for an hour or extend your stay overnight, RVers can make an order over the phone or online, pick-up their take-out order, and enjoy a hearty meal in the comfort of their home-on-wheels.
You can find Cracker Barrels, campgrounds and more along your RV-friendly route using RV Trip Wizard, a customizable trip planning online tool, and on-the-go with the RV LIFE app.
See also: RVs As Temporary Housing Come To The Rescue
Natalie Henley is a freelance writer and has also been full-time RVing with her husband and pets since 2015. She covers a wide range of topics from RV lifestyle, RVing tips, DIY projects, RV news, and more.